Player Development – Thoughts from the Network

Posted on Sep 27 2021

The development of players remains a strong focus for coaches at all levels of the sport. We asked a number of coaches from Australia and abroad about their key themes and philosophies around player development.

Rhys Carter – Melbourne United assistant coach

We have a strong focus on –

  • repetitions of game specific shooting
  • creating your own shot off the dribble, including creating space
  • finishing in multiple ways, playing off both feet, using either hand, playing off balance and timing

Sarah Graham – Assistant Coach, BA Centre of Excellence

  • Provide an environment where players are constantly challenged and put in uncomfortable (growth) situations
  • Ensure players are able to understand why/the importance of a skill and how it fits into their game/team game
  • The repetition of a skill at a high-level once foundation has been laid
  • Ensure players feel supported and valued

Joel KhaluHead Coach, 2021 Mackay Meteors NBL1 North Champions

Defensive accountability –

  • players knowing their roles and responsibilities, both on and off the ball in a wide variety of scenarios and situations
  • Knowing how to better navigate these scenarios when presented, making for a more complete two-way player

Decision-making –

  • Developing players by outing them in situations where they learn how to welcome pressure and make quick, effective decisions

Understanding offensive floor spacing –

  • Players learning where they need to be on the court
  • The “why” is important here when developing players, as sometimes the purpose of floor spacing for individuals is not about them actually scoring

Mitch ThompsonAssistant Coach, Mexico City Capitanes NBA G-League team

  • Make every drill competitive with a scoring system that challenges the players
  • Incorporate off ball movement and passing that reflect game actions
  • Decision making needs to be a theme in everything you do

Nico LoureiroNBA Basketball Operations Liaison Latin America & respected player development coach

  • Connection – the personal side
  • Precision – the skill detail
  • Decisions – understanding

Fleur McIntyre – Assistant Coach, Sydney Kings

  1. Holistic approach – on court/off court (physical, skill, metal, preparedness are examples)
  2. Understand the individual and person – strengths and improvement areas, but also goals and aspirations
  3. Quality of environmental constraints and competitive elements – is it linked to performance/game demands?

Damian Cotter – Assistant Coach, Chicago Bulls

The three key elements are –

  • Basics
  • Decision making – incorporating some chaos and confusion
  • Incorporate as much contextual contact as possible in the drills and breakdowns and ensure there is an element of competition as much as possible

Zoe Carr – High Performance Coach (Country Women), Basketball Victoria

  • Create an environment where mistakes are not only accepted but encouraged. Growth happens outside of the comfort zone
  • Allow athletes to learn through discovery. Ask leading questions that helps them find answers on their own
  • Practice the decisions required in games. This allows the skillset to develop and means that a poor skillset won’t dictate decisions

Mike Czepil – Assistant Coach, University of California at Riverside

There is no doubt that within our program there is a heightened awareness for three elements of player development:

    1. Pick and roll decisions and passing solutions for ball screen users
    2. Pinch-post or 5-out dribble hand-offs for our post players
    1. Pick and roll set-up and use for ball handlers in a variety of ball screen shapes
    2. Pick and roll exits (rolls, pops) for ball screeners
    1. Footwork as it relates to concept (in transition v. around pick and roll action v. in pick and roll action as the ball handler or screener)
    2. Volume from the spots on the floor where you are likely to operate out of, or get shots from (Hands ready? How is your base? Are you giving it a chance to go in?)

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